“Dance is a sacred journey of the soul.” ~Farima Berenji
“The harmony of the sound, the melody of the poems and the meaningful movements of your dance charms every spectator. God has given you many blessings, the beauty of appearance and inner purity, kindness and art, which is the most beautiful manifestation of the creation.
Ms. Berenji, the creator of human beings may take a blessing from a person, as he took the existence of your dear father from you, but in return he has given you his heart and infinite blessings. You are dear to God… Know your worth. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Do what God has instructed you to do and follow your heart. Every time I see you dancing I cry with joy. Thank you for being an ambassador of peace and art… That is a rare gift… A gift that no politician can offer.
Thank you for showing the word the beauties of our ancient land and what Persian culture has to offer. Peace be upon you.”Vatican Iranian Ambassador
“Farima jan, you have made the Persian dance come alive. You have raised the bar very high and you have made this choreography so beautiful and mesmerizing.”Unnamed audience member
“A few years ago, meeting and watching Farima Berenji perform was an unforgettable moment for me. Next week, I get to share the stage with her and her dancers surrounded by live music and poetry.” Suzi Slavik
“Farima, just wanted to tell you how much I love your whirling series and your style of teaching. Thanks for being such an inspiration in my life. Since last month that I joined your Nature series and now the birds, I have come to realize how important it is to know the meaning behind the movements and channel the energy of that specific element in our whirling. You have lifted my whirling journey to another level.
Love you,”Sara Kazemi
“Hello Farima! Excuse my enthusiasm but I just can’t believe I found you Alhamdulillah… I come from Egypt and I belong to a Qadiri path. I found myself and my soul in dancing. I have always thought of it as something that clashes with my spiritual aspirations but God opened my heart to Dervish dancing and your dances resonated with me so much. So beautiful and meaningful. God bless. I want to start doing this type of dance. I’m really longing for it.”Reema
“You are the sunshine after [a] cloudy day and rainbow after rain! Keep dancing sister, it makes happy everyone around you!!!”Rashid Sadat – London, England
Awesome! Super excited. You’re amazing – the more and more I see what dancers you’ve trained and your choreography, your dance and education. Wow!Lucia Herlinda – San Diego, CA
“You are one the kindest people I have ever met. God bless your beautiful heart.”Haleh
“Dear Farima, Hope you dear are doing well. Just watched your last clip want to give you a compliment. You are amazing hard worker, dedicated, passionate and a true meaning of someone [who] loves what she does. God bless you.”Farshadaf2002
“After class I went outside to breathe the winter air, Creator asked me how class felt today, not how class went… but how it felt and it’s taken me till now to express how it felt. It was like the first time I walked into drum practice it felt like my spirit had come home, if it was a piece of music I had heard for the first time it would be how hearing Rakim for the first time made you feel, goosebumps, tears, breathing.
I’ve been long in prayer since class, you are a sacred being, I had a deeply profound experience in class today, that gave me pause as I felt a fire burning in my chest… teacher Mithra is you, by your actions, by your words, by your spirit. I have truly found a most wise mentor in you, you are a well for sacred beings. Thank you for evolving my spirit and bringing me to the gate.”Christina Garfield
“My God, I have seen many dances in my life but I never seen anyone like you. I don’t know what you are… You are not human…. I could not see your feet. It wasn’t you dancing.. Ok, I am just lost with words. Please, teach me. I want to feel what you feel.”
She hugged me and started crying
Unnamed audience member
“Farima, one of our Swami was talking about all the things we’ve learned this year and how we can really grow by looking back at the past year and one of the things we’ve learned is loneliness (valley of solitude) and that is a blessing because in the loneliness we learned what we are thinking…and what is most important to us, who we think is most important and I realized I talked to you often and sometimes hours. I realized you were one of the most important things in my life so thank you.”Unnamed
“I read your post a few days ago and I became quiet. Hard to imagine. And I couldn’t just respond without telling you how much you mean to me! The quote by Hafez was perfection… this year flew by because I felt saved, helped, loved and supported by you and your teachings. With your work and studies to focus upon I was able to make it through the year with so many painful moments. So many hard lessons. So thank you for helping me stay alive. I look forward to joy, happiness, and creating wonderful things this year. Happy new year sending you love from my heart and peace, love you.”Unnamed
I wanted to thank you for all of your hard work on The Vahishtas, and every other project you work on. hank you for all of the opportunities and growth you have provided for me.Kiana Gholamy – Palo Alto, CA
“My dearest friend teacher and Master of Suﬁ’s, guide and companion to all Angels. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. To me you are the light of the world and bringer of new hope. I have come alive and I am so grateful for our meeting. You have given me answers to questions from long ago and in those answers I have found freedom. Working on The Vahishtas, I got to laugh and share creative energy, a magic time that ignites the passion to just create more. Thank you for being a light in my life, and the light during these “hard” times. Much love to you now and always.
Farima and Master Salman
I want to thank you both for being so kind and generous with the teachings and our learning. I have enjoyed everything immensely. My friends at home say that this path has been very good for me and that I have changed. I feel very different, I feel more expansive in my personality. I feel I can serve people better than before and I love more and more. With my parents, I have found forgiveness and love to them for the wonderful life I have had. I am grateful and thankful to them. There has been a huge shift in me because of Sufism and I wanted to thank you both for helping me. The past few months have been very hard but I have been able to make it through, because of the lessons and work we have been doing together..
Master Salman, when we talked last you asked me what I love, my answer was beauty in all its forms, but I don’t think that was enough to fulfill the question. So I have been thinking about it, since. My life has always been concerned with Beauty as a expression of God. How can God reach us humans through beauty. Beauty as a Divine expression. Farima knows I love flowers. I love the thought that all flowers are Angels. All trees are Angels. Angels come to us as the magnificent 7’s. Everything we have been studying makes me fall more in love with life as a Divine expression of God.”
Jeffery Paul Ames – Woburn, MA
“Farima, thank you letting the angels out and inspiring the creativity in us all! It’s always an honor to work with you and to see the amazing results.”
“Farima, you bring beauty where ever you travel. Thank you for bringing beauty and peace to the world in dance.”Kevin Greek – Sunnyvale, CA
“I would just like to say thank you for opening up your performance to me such last minute even though I had not attended many of your other classes. I had a lot of fun learning about my angel and trying to incorporate what I learned into the music I made and the movements I was doing. So, thank you again and I wish you the best in all that you do.”Michael Azarfam
“Lovely Farima, thank you so much for this incredible opportunity. I have learned a lot from you not only about dance but also how to manage a team and create an amazing show. It was a great experience.”Yasaman Ahmadabadi
“Dear Farima, as always, you have delivered an amazing experience for the cast and the audience. It was a great pleasure to meet all the angels and be part of the crew.”Laaya Gholamy – Palo Alto, CA
“Thank you so much for pulling me into this project! Getting to work with and offer support to the magniﬁcent people involved in this has been full of joy for me. I hope that the Vahishta come into our world through us all and through those who watched the show.”Kari Hedman – Seattle, WA
“My heritage is a mix of Canadian, German, Polish and European ancestry. I was drawn to Farima’s dance workshops because I am a seeker of culture. I love to honour storytelling and traditions. I wanted a better understanding of the importance of protocols and permissions to share rituals in a good way, with knowledge of how to avoid cultural appropriation, rather to have a respectful approach to learning. I was eager to go on an ethnography journey around the world with Farima to look deeper at traditions and where they originated. I have recently graduated with a Master of Arts degree from the University of Victoria, BC, Canada in Health Leadership, that focused on Rural, Remote, and Indigenous Communities. For my final paper I looked at the healing power of dance for well being. It reviewed how music can soothe people that are hurting, comfort those with dementia and works as a catalyst to bring people together in a collective energy. I referenced my experiences with Farima and her presentations with our local community.
Some of the challenges I found with learning sacred dance and rituals came from a deeper self-consciousness. Farima helped me to get out of my fears and go into my body and connect through dance with my soul. I recommend those new to this journey suspend their judgements and absorb holistically with all their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. Sacred dance helps me to ground and focus. It allows me to meditate and get out of my mental spinning by channeling it into physically whirling. Sacred dance gives us perspective and allows us to connect with the ancestors by opening to the universe. The contrast of connecting with the micro (self) to the macro (greater consciousness) is the most rewarding part for me.
I have been a student with Farima for 6+ years now. Her teachings are often intense and loving all at the same time. She is very clear about where she has been granted permission by those cultures that own the dances to share and why it is critical to honor their protocols 100% of the time. During her workshops, she begins with the background and history of the dances. Often there are pictures shared of places and costumes, from the area these dances originated from. Then usually a high cardio session to get us moving and whip us into shape. In the afternoon portion we are shown how to embody the storytelling and become the characters. By the end of the weekend intensive workshop, she has been fierce, whilst loving and everyone feels connected and appreciative for the learning. I have completed numerous workshops with her including the goddesses, flowers, birds, animals and others I can’t recall at the moment. I am happy to continue studying whatever her latest project is because she is such an inspiration, who teaches me to get out of my ego and go deeper. Farima has become a dear friend and I value our connection. Sacred dance helps me to slow down when life is overwhelming. I am inspired by the effect it has on the participants whether they are dancing or observing. It is such a valuable way to connect to a higher realm. I have much gratitude to Farima and her teachings.”Melissa Roeske – Cumberland, BC
“Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us and for passing ancient traditions into today. I feel blessed to have come across you and your teachings as they have helped guide me further on my own path of never ending self discovery. Also, its been a welcome challenge of coordination of the different body parts.
Whirling has helped me find a fire inside and it feels like a dearly burning eternal flame of love and devotion to a life deeply steeped in spiritual evaluation.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”Morgan Leigh – Cumberland, BC
“I left Iran many years ago, as a young teenager, I got busy with life: learning new languages, new cultures, adapting to new lifestyles. Sadly, I lost connection to my roots. I saw Farima in 2015, when she was whirling to live music at a cultural event in Anchorage, AK. I was mesmerized, Farima took me on a journey through ancient Iran with her dance. I decided to join Farima’s dance company to keep, nourish, and represent my beautiful culture through dance.
Farima has taught me so much about ancient Iran and the culture of dance, she has helped me to reconnect with my roots and I love to share it with others. I perform at cultural community events and concerts with Farima: both classical and folkloric dances.
Farima’s lectures are amazing: it takes you back in time, it shows you the lifestyle, costume, and music for each region. Once you learn all these, then you can dance from your heart.
I love it all, Farima is an excellent teacher, she is very knowledgeable, passionate, fun, and serious when needed. I feel very close to Farima, she is like a sister to me. We share the same vision.”Gita Franklin – Anchorage, AK
“Just wanted to tell you how much I love your whirling series and your style of teaching. Thanks for being such an inspiration in my life. Since last month that I joined your Nature series and now the birds, I have come to realize how important it is to know the meaning behind the movements and channel the energy of that specific element in our whirling. You have lifted my whirling journey to another level.
Love you,”Sara Fallahi
“Dearest Farima, it was my honor and pleasure to be a part of this performance. Thank you so much for organizing yet another beautiful show and inspiring all these artists to come together and create these pieces. Your knowledge, passion and love for the arts is a true inspiration for all of us and it is my joy to be one of your angels.”Paria Parvizi – Gilroy, CA
“Dear Super Farima. Thank you with all my heart to bring us all on the wings of sacred Angels, let us ﬁnd their qualities inside and manifest them freely! It has been a wonderful enlightening journey to me and I really hope to go on to travel together in the Light of Angels with Love to all ❤.
Thank you with all my heart to bring us all on the wings of sacred Angels. Let us find their qualities inside and manifest them freely! It has been a wonderful enlightening journey to me and I really hope to go on to travel together in the Light of Angels. With Love to all!”Elisa Omassi – Italy
“I had the good fortune of attending your Sacred Dance and Whirling class today, and I feel so blessed. I joined from Hong Kong, so your Tuesday evening is Wednesday morning local time. I believe that the universe introduces a person to whatever they need at the time that they will be most receptive to the blessing, and I truly believe that you are such a blessing.
Dearest, sweetest, most inspirational Farima. You have blessed us with such a fabulous opportunity, and yet are so humble about all your gifts. The gifts and blessings you’ve bestowed upon us has helped us upon our journey and has provided so much strength to so many of our loved ones too. You are a treasure and words fail to express the emotions I have for you suffciently. Thank you, is simply not enough. With all my love.”Alisha Nanwani – Scotland
“Farima jun, Thank you for all of your hard work in making this amazing project happen. I was honored to work with you on [this] project alongside other beautiful, lovely, and talented angels. I look forward to more projects together. Sepas, Banafshin, Angel of Daf”
Narimann Assadi – San Jose
“An amazing workshop with Master Farima and The Wellness Project, a great experience where you can learn that Sufism is all about cleaning/purifying our hearts from jealousy, hatred, envy, etc. Freeing ourselves from the attractions of this world, having control over our nafs/desires and devoting our attention to Almighty Allah, living in and through Allah. It also tells us about the power of love & being kind to makind. So grateful and thankful.”
Roula Harb – Lebanon
“I want to thank you for deep down in my heart and soul for what you have offered me and all the priestesses this weekend. The work you are doing in the world is so important, so sacred, and is deeply needed by women, men, and the whole planet.
I have been deeply touched and stimulated by all I have experienced this weekend. This work that you bring to me and the world is powerful and empowering–bringing out the power to heal and find our strength.
A million bows of gratitude and so much love!”
Magdalene Louisa Joly – Denman Island, British Columbia
“Thank you so much for sharing your shamanic gifts with us. I feel it in my heart this morning, a lightness, a shift. I am so grateful! We hope that Denman’s magic leaves a sweet story thread in the fabric of your memory, and that you will soon return.”
Luhadra and Bruce – Comox, British Columbia
“First I want to say you are magnificent. Thank you for showing the world Persian culture has so much beauty to offer. At first I didn’t want to go to the show. Like many Iranians, I was sad and angry but an hour before the show I told my friends let’s go. And from the moment the show started you spoke to our hearts. As if you knew exactly how I feel. You give us hope. Every music, every story, every dance was exactly what we are all going through right now. You told us that through love and unity we will bring back the light. Yes, we are the Simorgh. Thank you Farima! Thank you!”
Name withheld – San Jose, CA on Journey of the Simorgh
“I feel so blessed and honored to be studying with Farima Berenji. I have learned, experienced and grown so much spiritually and personally from her offerings and unique authentic teachings. Words really can’t express my deepest gratitude for her and the amazing content she shares and creates.”
Bani Khalsa – Seaside, CA
“Thank you for your wonderful performances and bringing inspiration, beauty and culture in our midst.”
Nushin Mavaddat – San Jose Baha’i Center, CA
“Farima is the best kept secret in San Francisco.”
Joe Garage – San Francisco, CA
“Farima Berenji was excellent! She sprinkled [herself] throughout the building. Through holes in the curtains, we all become willing voyeurs as we peek at the king and his companion of the evening.”
Allan Ulrich – San Francisco Chronicle Correspondent, CA, on Layla Means Night
“For almost 30 years I’ve studied Arabic styles of dance and saw elements of Persian dance adopted into the lexicon. The Persian moves and hand gestures were some of my favorites. When I heard that there were workshops in Persian dance being offered in Anchorage, I jumped at the chance to attend, even though Anchorage is almost 400 miles away. I knew most of the Alaskan dancers in the Simorgh collective before I joined and I’m happy to finally have a venue where I can collaborate with them, despite most of them living so far away. I’m also looking forward to meeting other dance troupes in the collective, from other cities and countries, and dancing with them.”
Terri Massa – Fairbanks, AK
“I went to my first class and loved it! Farima was very kind, supportive, and helpful. I have always enjoyed folk dances and learning dances from different cultures, and this is a cultural dance that I have never experienced or even knew about. Farima is gentle given my age and the lack of agility, she allows me dance with my own limits. I was taken by a pleasant surprise when our class became a performing arts class. The costumes we are able to create are beautiful and elegant.”
Sandra Daniels – San Jose, CA
“Dance and art has always been my passion. And I found my passion in Farima’s classes. One thing that differentiates the Farima Dance Company from other Persian dance institutes is that the history and origin of each dance is taught besides the actual dance. It’s a full mind, body, and spiritual journey through the history of Silk Road. I am always inspired by Farima’s dedication to keep the history and ancient cultures alive. She created the Simorgh Dance Collective, that brings people from around the world together to create a community and share the same passion and value about the ancient cultures, and willing to share and pass them on to others. Being a member and a certified dance instructor of the Farima Dance Company, I’m proud to be part of this great mission!”
Haydeh Keramat – San Jose, CA
“Thank you again for such a thoughtful, helpful, and inspiring lesson. I’ll do my best to live up to your teaching.”
Margaret McKibben – Seattle, WA
“Thank you for showing us how beautiful life can be.”
David Lang – Comox, British Columbia
“Farima’s super-fun workshops and teachings change lives!”
Thespinjinny – Canada
“Thank you Farima Berenji for all the knowledge you shared.”
Al Garmon – Seattle, WA
“A big thank you for the magical, unforgettable experience…”
Erdal Akçora – Manchester, UK
“You are a beautiful and bright spirit. So very grateful for the opportunity to study with you.”
Sumaya Lea – Kentucky
“I am so inspired and uplifted by the whole event. Farima is just wow! Thank you!”
Bri Hurley – Czech Republic
“Thank you so much for such a great workshop! You are an amazingly beautiful performer, instructor, and person. Thank you!!”
Tiffany – Kentucky
The costumes are lovely, the music is really interesting, there is a lot of turns with spinning that was very challenging for me at first. I can actually spin a bit now without feeling like I’m going to puke.
Thank you for such a wonderful weekend! My soul is full of whirling flowers.
Jessica Macpherson – Comox, BC
“You have a melting heart you serve others with…a brilliant light you radiate. I really want to join and be a part of your sacred space of healing. Thank you sister.”
Yosra Sana Sol Solena – unknown
“Thank you Farima Berenji, High Priestess of Persian Sacred Dance, and everyone who joined and shared their energy. It was moving beyond words for me to be reconnected to the dances of my ancestry.”
Roshanak Ghanaian – Comox, BC
“We are positively blessed to have such an opportunity to study with Farima!! I can’t wait.. Hope to see many people out sharing our beautiful Farima’s dance magic.”
Hilberry Clan – Comox, BC
“Thank you, the strong, independent, inspirational woman you are! [For] empowering your community and lifting the spirits of so many.”
Stizmir Smyrna – Turkey
“I cannot put the concert from tonight in words. Emotional, full of energy, oneness and beauty. Especially the last two songs and Farima’s powerful and emotional Sufi whirling left me so affected. I am still shaking from the energy. Will never forget this concert. Thank you again and I hope there will be many more.”
Meral Ozturk – Manchester, UK, on Seven Cities of Love
“I don’t have the words to express my feelings about the magic we all created together last weekend. It was out of this world. I would like to thank you for coming to Manchester again and being our guide through the Seven Cities of Love. You brought beauty, wisdom and joy to our city and our hearts. Here are two questions for the universe to answer: ‘What else is possible?’ and ‘How does it get any better than this?’
We loved every second of it! It passed too quickly. Still receiving amazing feedback of the lectures, concert, and workshop. Thank you for coming to Manchester and touching our hearts so beautifully. We love you!”
Gulcin Ulas Bulut – Manchester, UK
“The weekend was all beauty, harmony, and unification. Thank you Farima for coming and thank you for all of the beauty you created and shared. And thank you to Gulcin, who made it all possible .. who was guided by her heart into creating the Seven Cities of Love festival whethank you to everyone involved.”
Pasha A Ab – Manchester, UK
“Beautiful! I really enjoyed the concert on Saturday evening. It was mesmerising… Farima, you’re amazing and I loved all your beautiful outfits. Thank you for a wonderful evening. I take away with me such lovely memories.”
Bita Babai – Manchester, UK
“What a great night, everybody has been touched deeply and have felt the music deep inside. And my daughter was the happiest girl in the world to meet her favourite dancer Farima Berenji again.”
Serap Adair – Manchester, UK
“The combination of all the artists the music and the dance was so connected on a ethereal level I could feel the energy transforming my DNA. I cannot put into words how I felt for every city [level] that we moved with its vibration left me astounded as I journeyed through the varying emotions and dimensions guided by the Divine every step of the way. This concert will always be etched in the depths of my soul, for what my soul remembers can never be forgotten. Thank you all the wonderful artists and the organisers for the creation and delivery of this exceptional concert.”
Mumtaz Sodha – Manchester, England, on Seven Cities of Love
“Thank you to Farima for coming to Florida and sharing your wealth of knowledge with us! I learned so much about the dances of Persia from your amazing workshop and it was such an honor to dance with you! Hope you will return soon”
Astarte MoonDancer – Florida
“Big thanks to all the beautiful dancers who took part at the Norooz celebration! Thank you, beautiful Farima Berenji for an amazing workshop and fabulous performance! We appreciated that you accepted our invitation and came to Brno! You were the most beautiful flower of our event! Thank you!”
Světlana Synáková – Brno, Czech Republic
“I’ve taken dance classes with Farima for a few years. She has taught us a variety of styles, including classical and modern Persian dance, Azeri dance, Bandari dance, Kurdish dance, as well as many other styles. Farima knows a lot about these and other dance styles. Farima has also taught us about music, clothing, and other cultural information. I have enjoyed learning from Farima as well as dancing with her.”
Dawn Imada – San Jose, CA
“I attended a Persian Dance Workshop this weekend along with poetry, live music, and some performances. We practiced Sufi whirling. It was truly a magical experience. With the help and guidance of Farima Berenji, I was able to whirl quite comfortably for much longer than I thought I would be able to. And it felt so good.”
“The Friday evening Sema gathering was incredible. The Saturday Sacred Dance ‘Mystified’ workshop was truly enjoyable. I loved the concept of spirit meeting human. And I loved learning more about the seven sacred animals. It was a remarkable Friday evening Sema gathering and Saturday workshop with Farima Berenji. Thank you.”
Elizabeth Smith – Canada
“I went up those ODC stairs that evening during that ‘Layla’ performance and saw you spinning in that room within a room Ms. Farima. I saw a lot more there than I realized… It was not just a body dancing, it was spirit, a force. I could feel your story. Someday, when I hit the lottery and have lots of money for the arts – I want to turn your story into a movie.”
Name withheld – San Francisco, CA
“Wonderful, wonderful show by ALL performers!! The audience was very happy. The ballerinas were simply gorgeous and at moments dancers like Suzi, Farima, Ms. Kwan and the others in Kathy Mata Ballet—were as beautiful as any female dancers in big companies such as SF Ballet. Seriously. They remind me the gift of sight should not be taken lightly!!”
Bay Area Dance Watch – San Francisco, CA
“Farima, I came to your show a while ago. I did not know you but I was crying when I met you. I had no idea what the show was. My friend mentioned music and did not mention the dance. I saw the beauty of my dream realized before my eyes, when my soul was filled with doubt and fear. I saw beauty before me and believed that ‘maybe I could do my own dance too’ That is why you are my inspiration. Because you are realizing your dreams through dance, I saw your love stories, I saw your pain, I saw your strength. Thank you sweet soul. Much love my soul sister.”
Name withheld – San Francisco, CA, on Dance and Diaspora
“Ms. Farima, you have been a big inspiration to me and your work has encouraged me to grow in my dance. You are full of light. Thank you for keeping our history alive and showing the world the beauty of Iranian culture. I wish more Iranians in Iran would learn from you to keep these dances alive and save our history. Our generation has changed and I fear that our dances will vanish but your work inspires me to help keep them alive. I have never met you in person but I always see your videos and pictures and hear about you and try to follow your work. I hope to meet you one day and to tell you thank you from my heart. You make me proud to be Iranian.”
Name withheld – Iran
“I did not realize until this day that through dance I could be a bird or a flower or whatever beautiful creature I would like to be. Farima says, ‘You are a bird looking for food,’ when something suddenly happens, birds are astonished and make head movements with astonished eyes, birds are so beautiful and their movements so subtle and light that Mid-Asians have been inspired by them to create their traditional dances. It’s not at all bizarre that after Farima’s dance teaching you feel flying like a bird. You look around on the street—people are the same, but you… You are transformed into a bird! Yes, tonight I decided to be a bird, I feel I’m flying somewhere and feel astonished by all the things happening around… Let’s let in more dance into our lives! Thank you Farima again for having made my day special and thank you for the nice circle where you patiently told us by words the history and metaphors of some dances—the circle was just magic. We come from India, Argentina, Iran, San Francisco, Turkey, Crimea, Republic of Tatarstan, Tunisia, Morocco, and Swizerland. What a beautiful World we are living in if we just wanted and what a meaningful reflection is Farima’s to have said that we had to preserve dances and keep on teaching them … to preserve a culture and protect it from vanishment, in a world where nonsense wars tend to destroy and annihilate what we have inherited… from our ancestors. I naively wonder why should there be wars and suffering when we can actually DANCE?”
Emna Jamoussi – Istanbul, Turkey
“Spent a glorious weekend immersed in the rich culture, history, mythology, folklore, arts, poetry, music and dance of Persia. Talk about BEAUTY of epic proportions! Mind is full. Body exhausted. Imagination sparking with all of the creative possibilities of the Silk Road. So much to learn! So happy to have found a teacher in Farima.”
“Facing a week of my favorite things. Band practice today. Flamenco Tuesday. Silk Road dance lecture Thursday. Dervish whirling Friday. Persian dance immersion Saturday. Afghani dance immersion Saturday. Semi-private lesson on playing and dancing with a daf on Monday. Can’t wait to move and sweat and stretch with my favorite dance ethnologist Farima! YES, PLEASE!”
Melissa Wanamaker – Anchorage, AK
I’ve gone to Turkey to do a dance study retreat with Farima in 2012. We met there and I’ve been seeking out teachers to learn those styles of dances so I invited her to come and teach in Cumberland. Farima’s Simorgh Collective is like a global project and she has collectives in several countries. It’s wonderful to see the bond we have as a collective, as a group and it is exciting learning more dances and represent these dances and culture in our community.Cathy Stoyko – Cumberland, BC
It is a really beautiful dance form and it is very different to what we have here otherwise. It is more like a lyrical form of dance which I really love. I just think it’s beautifulNancy Belliveau – Cumberland, BC
I think it is really powerful way to preserve the ancient traditions and culture. So art in my opinion is the most beautiful way to pass on culture and tradition.Jasmina Majcenic – Cumberland, BC
“OMG…what a weekend this was! Drove to Seattle on Saturday and performed at the Turkish Festival both doing solo pieces and then a dervish whirling duet with the amazing Farima Berenji. Sunday, I had the pleasure of being able to attend Farima’s dance workshops. Again I am saying how amazing this woman is. She not only is a fabulous Persian and Azeri dance teacher and performer, she is also an archaeologist who has been specializing in uncovering and reviving the very ancient roots of dance and it’s uses in various religions and spiritual paths. For anyone who might have an impression that Persian dance is somehow rigid and thoroughly choreographed, she brings us all to a time before choreography existed and dance was done solely from inspiration and from the Heart. Thank you Farima for what you are doing in this world…I love seeing what happens in people when they are around you…in myself as well…Keep being so wonderful!”
Alfredo Gormezano – Seattle, WA
“From the moment our 2 day workshop of the Silk Road started, Farmia was on fire. She showed us all the various dance styles from the Bandari to Peacock and Hummingbird to the traditional Kurdish and Gilaki styles. In addition, she explained the history behind each style. There was so much to learn in those two workshops. Her dancing took my breath away. She is such a beautiful eloquent dancer, who dances like a feather in the wind. She was born to dance, a patient angel teaching us her talent. When you leave her workshop, you will feel rejuvenated. No need to spend a large amount of money on those motivational workshops, just take Farima’s class instead. I wish she would move to Anchorage but understand her home base is in the warmer region of California.”
Maryam – Anchorage, AK
“The peacock is haunting me after you came here. As a Sufi you shine in the darkness like this peacock. The workshops brought an extraordinary experience for the Seattle dancers who are Persian specialists always looking deeper into dance. Farima Berenji answered many questions we had in Persian dances, such as its roots, which stems out from natural elements, animals and ancient Zoroastrian worship and rituals. Moreover, Farima demonstrated perfectly to us how we should apply this wealth of Persian and Azerbaijan dance onto today’s higher-tech-staging by dancing gorgeously at the TurkFest in Seattle, Washington. Farima is serving definitely as one of the major axes in today’s world with authentic knowledge, movement, and expression of Persian and Azeri dances and culture.”
Emiko – Seattle, WA
“I was so graced to have taken Farima’s ‘Dances of Persia and the Silk Road’ 2 day intensive at Temple Goddess in Tarpon Springs Florida. It was one of the most amazing workshops I have ever taken. I have been belly dancing for 13 years and when I was first learning I did some Persian dance with my first teacher, and I was surprised how easily I was able to get right back into it. Farima is the largest reason I was able to just float into this beautiful dance. Listening to the history and the dichotomy of the mysticism and the scientific really spoke to me. I really enjoy learning many different things about other cultures but also the scientific and sociological aspects as well. It was wholly fascinating on an intellectual level, as well as dance. I was just blown away. Farima has this way about her where she can be going over thousands of years worth of history AND dance AND keep it from sounding like a lecture or a hard core ballet class. There is fun, smiles, and you start to retain the information more quickly by the way she has developed such an interactive and invigorating teaching style.
The first day was a 4 hour intensive on Persian classical, and even as it was difficult in places, you never felt tired, or frustrated, none of that. Farima always kept things moving and flowing so that even if I didn’t get the moves right away, I still felt like I was dancing with the true heart and spirit of the Persian classical. The other thing that I particularly enjoyed was the time for experimentation. It was not just step 2-3-4, turn, pose, or etc; Farima would put on music and allow the students to just move with it to FEEL it. Let us use our bodies and the movements we had learned to truly dance to it in a way I feel is most authentic. More so then just teaching choreography, history and culture, it was about heart and spirit. The Folkloric styles were for 4 hours the next day, and again I was completely and totally enamored with the culture and the people, the history, and the heart of the people whose dances we were practicing and learning. I can remember distinctly the Rice Dance in particular, It sort of made me laugh how they would bounce their babies on their lower backs, and it made me smile, watching Farima’s expressions in the mirror, I really felt as if we were just a regular group of women in the rice fields dancing and laughing, and just the true Persian folkloric style. It really felt as if we were there. Farima was also very generous with letting people blossom and experiment. If you wanted to do a solo, she encouraged it. To just allow us to completely immerse ourselves in every aspect of the dance and a way of life.
Of all the master classes and workshops I have ever taken, I have never been transported back to another time or place. Farima is able to take you to the temple of Anahita, flutter your wings and tail feathers like a great peacock, let you feel the thunder of horses riding into battle with Artemesia, see the lovely Simorgh flying overhead, and even pick rice in the fields with the women who still do that until this day. A teacher like that is a true gift and you can see in Farima’s heart and soul that she lives and breathes dance, and her ability to take others on this wonderful full body, mind and spirit dance journey is remarkable. Her passion, her knowledge, just everything about Farima makes taking any workshops, classes, even just a single lesson a whole and complete experience that I for one will never forget. She has so inspired me that I have started practicing Persian dance, so that I can continue to walk through the doors Farima has opened for me.”
Lyssa Poole – Tampa, FL
“I just had a class with you a couple weeks ago. I was the only boy in the class so I’m sure you remember me. I just wanted to say thank you so much for everything! Your class literally changed me. I remember you said to ask our sacred ancestors for what we wish during the class and I asked my grandma, the ancestor I was trying to contact, to take all my insecurities and negative thoughts away…It worked. I’ve never been happier and more comfortable in my body. Your class really changed me and I wanted to thank you for that. You truly are an inspiration.”
Eric – Los Angeles, CA
“For beginners, this is a fine introduction to learn the dances of Iran and Central Asia. Based on Farima’s amazing ability and expertise in these dances, intermediate and accomplished dancers with some basic ballet will also benefit. Until introduced to her class, I never knew of these dances nor found an instructor that could interest me in them. Now I’ve grown to appreciate their beauty and ages old culture. Farima demonstrates figures very thoroughly and we practice moves multiple times all to beautiful music of the region. The student need not progress further but is encouraged to learn a group choreography. Students participate in more skillful dances as they progress. Farima encourages her students to perform in costume with her at various cultural events or festivals. This is a valuable experience for any would-be performer.”
Kevin Greek – Sunnyvale, CA